A recent study by the University of Oregon suggests that approximately two billion people worldwide have a zinc deficiency. While a zinc deficiency is more likely to develop in under-developed countries, experts suggest that over 12% of people in the United States are deficient in zinc, and nearly half of that 12% are elderly adults. Zinc deficiency is a growing concern, as it has been connected with certain health implications (DNA damage, immune function and even cancer).
What causes someone to be zinc deficient? A zinc deficiency develops for one of two reasons. 1. We don’t consume enough or 2. we don’t absorb the zinc we do consume. The absorption of zinc is inhibited in high-fiber foods such as cereals, corn, rice and whole grains, adding to the inability to properly absorb the vital mineral. Zinc is necessary for our bodies to preform various important functions such as immune system support, cell growth, balancing blood sugar, and stabilizing metabolic rate, among other things.
How do you know if you have a zinc deficiency? There are many signs and symptoms of a zinc deficiency that can be mistaken for other things, even other vitamin/mineral deficiencies. The best way to detect a true zinc deficiency is through a blood test with your doctor.
- Loss of appetite
- Frequent colds & infections
- Hair loss
- Eye conditions
- Reduced fertility
What is the right amount of zinc and how can you consume it? For a female over 19 years old, you should consumer 8 mg per day (pregnant and lactating women should consume at least 11 mg per day). Men over 19 years old should consumer 11 mg daily. There are a variety of foods that can help to meet this daily amount:
- Grass-fed beef
At Medical Center Pharmacy, we strive to keep you informed and at your healthiest. If you have questions on zinc deficiencies, please give us a call. We are happy to help! You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive all the latest “be healthy” tips from us!